Our Guy Fawkes Day party was last weekend, and we had a blast. It was great to see friends, watch the kids as they get older and an play together more, and burn stuff in the backyard. 'Cause that's the real reason we celebrate, after all. S'mores this year were not as good as usual, mostly because Hershey's miniatures are really, really crappy ever since they stopped using cocoa butter in most of their chocolate, turning it into a chocolate-flavored food. And don't even start on the b.s. that Hershey's was never good-- plain old Hershey's milk chocolate was tasty. Krackel and Mr Goodbar used to taste creamy and delicious. They weren't Belgian, but they were good. Now they taste like wax. They don't even really melt in your mouth. It's all wrong. I know that this change happened about 2 years ago, but last year we had Ghirardelli and Resse's peanut butter cups, so we didn't notice until now.
Monday I flew to DC, and spent a few nights at L'Enfant Plaza. Usually when I go I stay in Rockville because that's where our regional office is. But this time, I was downtown. It was magnificent. Right next to the Smithsonian castle and the National mall, a hop on the Metro to the White House, good restaurants. I was reminded why DC is such a tourist destination. I think I prefer it to Manhattan- more places open to the public, and less crowded.
Oh yeah, I promised a recipe For the party last weekend, SNG made bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeno peppers (MMMMMM!) and in preparation, each of us bought 3 packages of cream cheese, without knowing about the other one getting cream cheese already. We didn't use 6 packages of cream cheese. We didn't even use 3. I had 4 bricks of cream cheese left over in the fridge, and when the world gives you cream cheese, make a creamy dip. So today I made up the following recipe, which was SUPER-good:
2 8-oz packages cream cheese
2 c reduced-fat mayo (yes, it would taste even better with full-fat)
a small handful of scallions, chopped (I used shallot tops from the garden- probably 7 or 8 stems)
1 can artichoke bottoms, chopped (hearts are fine, I had bottoms in my pantry)
1 can long asparagus, chopped
1 jar hearts of palm, chopped
2 c. cooked broccoli
1 t garlic
8 oz package shredded cheddar cheese
an extra 1/2-3/4 c shredded cheese
Mix all but the 2nd part cheddar in the kitchen aid, low speed, until it's all well-blended together. Divide into small or medium ramekins (mine are 16 oz) and sprinkle the last of the cheese on top. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until bubbly.
I made 6 ramekins, and baked 2 of them The rest are waiting in the fridge.